Intel 48-core Cascade Lake Xeon could upend everything in 2019

Intel 48-core Cascade Lake Xeon could upend everything in 2019

Intel 48-core Cascade Lake Xeon could upend everything in 2019

Intel is claiming that the new 48-core Cascade Lake-AP offers a performance leadership over competitor AMD's 32-core Eypc 7601 product.

After taking a little over a year to think on it, Intel appears to have decided that glue can be pretty Epyc after all.

The Cascade Lake advanced performance processor, Intel says, is architected for demanding high-performance computing (HPC), artificial intelligence (AI) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) workloads. Additionally, by the time Cascade Lake ships, AMD might be out with their next-gen 7nm EPYC processors as well. This benchmark hits AMD where it hurts. Intel used its own compilers to create binaries for this comparison, and that decision could create favorable Linpack performance results versus AMD CPUs, as well.

Other decisions about configuring the systems under test will likely raise louder objections.

Intel has announced the immediate availability of its Xeon E-2100 processors, which is targeted at small- and medium-sized businesses. Dual-socket Cascade Lake-AP systems will be able to offer an incredible 24 channels of DDR4 memory per server.

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When looking at today's two announcements side-by-side, the reveal of the Xeon E-2100 is probably the less exciting of the pair. Due to launch in the first half of 2019, Cascade Lake brings with it the claim of considerable performance gains over both Intel's previous-generation parts and AMD's Epyc - though the latter, it must be noted, rather unfairly compares Intel's as-yet unreleased 48-core Cascade Lake design to AMD's 32-core Epyc 7601, released in June this year, using 'processor projections' rather than actual testing and with simultaneous multithreading (SMT) disabled on the AMD part limiting it to 32 threads per chip.

Cascade Lake-AP, like the rest of the Cascade Lake line, is based on 14nm technology, and includes a new AI extension called Intel Deep Learning Boost (DL Boost) that extends the Intel AVX 512, adding a new vector neural network instruction (VNNI) to drive inference performance.

While Intel focuses on setting expectations around performance leadership, we will have to wait for future disclosures over the coming months to find out about the power profile of Cascade Lake-AP, a key factor in TCO equations. That, instead, is a title reserved for Cascade Lake class for Xeon processors.

Beyond this high-level teaser, Intel didn't specify nitty-gritty details like the inter-socket interconnect topology or the number of PCIe lanes available per socket from each Cascade Lake-AP CPU.

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